Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

 

G. W. Riley House
(also called
Lane / Riley House)
Historical Marker
Georgetown, Texas

circa 1872

click on thumbnail image for an enlarged view
1302 College Street
Lane - G. W. Riley House

 

  GPS Coordinates
Latitude: 30.63222  - Longitude: -97.67183
Degrees, Minutes, Seconds
+30°37'55.99", -97°40'18.59"
UTM 14 R - Easting: 627316 - Northing: 3389393
 


Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

Lane-Riley House. 1302 College. One-and a-half-story wood-frame dwelling with central-hall with early rear ell addition; exterior walls with board and batten; cross gable roof with wood-shingle covering; front elevation faces east; one exterior and one interior stone chimney, each with corbeled cap; wood-sash double-hung windows with 4/4 and 6/6 lights; single-door entrance with transom and sidelights; one-story one-bay porch with shed roof on east elevation; wood posts. Other noteworthy features include symmetrical three-bay facade; gabled extension with central doorway rises above center bay; exterior chimney with ashlar-cut stone construction extends from north gable end of original; interior stone chimney rises from rear ell; rear ell has gabled extensions--two on north side and one on south side; each gable with 4/4 light windows. Outbuildings include stone-lined cistern with pyramidal roof covering.

Historical Marker Text

Built 1872 by the Rev. S. J. Lane, chaplain, Southwestern University; founder, First Methodist church, Georgetown. Bought 1903 by the Rev. George W. Riley (1853-1925), a grandson of Llano County Indians' 1859 victim, the Rev. Jonas Dancer. G. W. Riley founded or served Methodist churches in Abilene, Beaumont, Douglassville, Mineral Wells, Tyler, and other towns for 48 years. He and wife, Beulah G. (Matthews) moved here to educate children; house remains in family.

 

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1972

 


 

  Reverend George Washington Riley (G.W. Riley) (1853 - 1925)
Historical narrative by Nancy Mundinger
Daughter of Reverend Jonas Dancer
Mother of Reverend George Washington Riley Wife of William McKendree Riley.

Reverend Riley was born February 24, 1853 at Honey Creek cove and was six years old when his Grandfather was killed by the Indians. The family abandoned this settlement and moved to Williamson County and settled near Roundrock. He graduated and later taught at the Greenwood Masonic Institute in Old Roundrock. At that time, Mr. Davis S. Switzer was head of the institute. to fought in the Civil War at the age of 16.

Reverend Riley was licensed to preach at the age of 24. He joined the East Texas Conference in October 1889.

He was a circuit rider often preaching in ranch houses, He organized numerous and built numerous Methodist churches including Tyler, Douglasville, Beaumont and Mineral Wells - the first Methodist Church in Abilene. He belonged to several Texas Conferences during his 48 year ministry.

He died on March 6, 1925; this was a Tuesday and he had preached the day before.


Clementine Dancer Riley  (1832-1915)
Historical narrative by Nancy Mundinger
Daughter of Reverend Jonas Dancer
Mother of Reverend George Washington Riley Wife of William McKendree Riley.

Clemontine Dancer Riley was born in Tennessee in 1832. Rode horseback to Texas at the age of 15, and helped her father drive the stock. Her mother and younger children rode in a wagon.

She was married in Austin, a village in 1850, to William McKendree Riley who was born in Kentucky in 1825. He moved to Texas and fought in the Mexican war. He died at his horse ranch in 1895. This couple moved with Reverend Dancer and two married daughters , Tennessee Jane and Matilda, and younger brother, James, to Llano County in 1850. They settled in a community which they called Honey Creek Cove, 14 miles south of Llano town. They built cabins on the banks of Honey Creek near a beautiful spring with an enormous boulder beside. Wild game, fish and Honey was plentiful. Their life pleasant in spite of the fact that Indians were constantly to be feared and the women folk never went for water without carrying a rifle.

In 1859, Reverend Dancer left the cabin early one morning to meet other settlers to widen a road that would accommodate buggies. The first such road to be endevored toward the town of Llano.

When the other settlers arrived, they found his tools scattered and his body with seven arrows in it and he had also been scalped. The Comanche Indians were so fierce that Clementine Riley and her family moved from Honey Creek to Round Rock.

Clementine Dancer Riley lived in this house in Georgetown from 1908 until she died there in 1915. She is buried at Bear Creek Cemetery in Burnet, Texas along with her husband, William McKendree Riley.

When Rev. Riley moved his family to Georgetown, Annie Pearl, the eldest daughter, was 16. The year was 1906. Miss Riley had just graduated from Alexander Colligiate Institute in Jacksonville, Texas (a Methodist School founded by Dr. Isaac Alexander, a Methodist minister who had ridden horseback from Virginia after graduation from Emory and Henry).

Alexander Institute later became known de as Lon Morris Junior College. Rev. Riley was president of the Board of Trustees at Alexander Institute. The faculty members were from Oberlin, Vanderbilt, Southwester, and the University of Texas.

Buelah Maud Riley, the second child, was 14. She attended The Southwestern Prep School located in the old three story stone building which was on the site of the present Georgetown High School.

Susie Blewett, age 12, attended Georgetown Public Schools as did George William Riley, age 10.

When the College Street home was bought in 1908 Rev Riley kept his appointments in other churches in central Texas coming home when he could. In the summer Mrs. Riley would join him leaving the girls to keep house and to send their brother to summer school at the University. Young Riley preferred calf riding on the Yearwood Ranch to school work.

GARDEN, by Nancy Mundinger

The south three quarters of the length of side lot was planted in a garden in the spring and fall. Rev. Riley planted Irish and sweet potatoes, was beans, black eyed and English peas (sometimes called saucer peas because they were so difficult to grow, seldom growing more than a saucer full. Since they had to be planted Christmas week, they often froze.) A favorite after school snack was a cold biscuit with fresh radishes and onions. Bermuda onions were hung in bunches from the barn rafters.

Okra, bell peppers, tomatoes, butter beans that were "fence grown, Kentucky Wonders , also known as poll beans, were planted each season. Kershaw, a long necked sweet vegetable of the pumpkin family grew on ground vines. Also lady peas a white, black-eyed peas was grown. Mrs. Riley canned and preserved from peach trees, plum and pear. She was a wonderful cook having been taught by her mother as she was growing up in Mississippi. She assisted her mother in preparing large quantities of food for the field hands on their farm where cotton was grown.

Rev. Riley planted several hackberry trees in the yard which he had dug in the woods. A lilac bush is still blooming each year as is a very large purple crepe myrtle that is still growing, spreading, and blooming. These came from a plantation about three miles from Cameron, Texas. A lady called Aunt Lizzie Wilson. lived in a house that is still standing that was built before the Civil War. She gave these plants to Rev. Riley from her yard in 1908

MUSIC LESSONS, by Nancy Mundinger

Annie Pearl Riley took music lessons at Alexander Institute. having had earlier training in Tyler. She had a lovely soprano voice always singing with the choir. She played the organ as soon as her feet barely touched the pedals. Papa would call for the songs he knew she could play at prayer meeting. He also took her with him to sing at funerals in country churches.

BARN, by Nancy Mundinger

A large frame barn was located on the back of the lot with a buggy shed and stalls for cows and horses. There was also a fenced cow lot. Their large horses were Prince and Major. In Georgetown they also had a buggy. Once during a deep snow Papa (Rev Riley) put runners on the buggy so all of the family could enjoy a country drive. The girls all wore crocheted fascinators, a crocheted shawl or scarf put overhead and tied under chin, making a beautiful frame for the face.

The roads were so narrow with trees growing to the edge of the road, great care was needed to keep the hub of a buggy wheel from scraping. Occasional places were provided in the road for buggies and wagons to pass.

Finale, by Nancy Mundinger

The children studying was all done by kerosene lamps on pine tables. The eldest graduated with distinction from Southwestern University elected to the Scholorshio Society being one of seven out of an enrollment of eight hundred.

The girls slept in the upstairs room led to by a small staircase. Grandma Riley (Clementine Dancer Riley) and her grandson George slept in a back bedroom. A long hall ran down the center of the house. Rev. and Mrs. Riley slept in the north room with a fire place and the parlor was on the south side of the hall, each room being 12x18 feet. The hall itself was 8 feet wide. At 8:30 each evening Grandma would say, "Brother, it is our bedtime" so they would leave the fireside.

Grandma was standing putting on overshoes when she fell and broke her hip at age 83. She died soon after and was buried at Bear Creek Cemetery in Bertram. Her body was taken there by train. Her husband and his family is also buried there. Rev. and Mrs. Riley are buried in Dallas at Grove Hill Cemetery.

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